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Month: March 2009

The Inelegance of Hierarchies

The Inelegance of Hierarchies

Head of a Peasant Girl, by Kazimir Malevich. 1913
Head of a Peasant Girl, by Kazimir Malevich. 1913

In The Elegance of the Hedgehog, class and age play a big part. Hierarchies play a big part. Elitism and the stigma of the lower classes are dissected and become almost characters in the novel. Madame Michel, who suffers from a very poor background, feels obliged for many reasons to present to the wealthy tenants of Number 7, Rue de Grenelle, that which they already assume: her ignorance and her virtual insignificance. This is a tragedy that underlies other tragedies in the novel, and it works two ways at least. At the very least.… |To be Continued “The Inelegance of Hierarchies”

The Elegance of Observation

The Elegance of Observation

The original French edition of Muriel Barbery's novel
The original French edition of Muriel Barbery’s novel

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a wonderful novel. Moving, thoughtful, highly observant. I didn’t want to put it down. Unusual for a literary work, it is also a page-turner. I really wanted to keep going, to follow the story, to know how things turn out for the two main characters and at least a couple of the secondary ones. I wanted to spend more time in their company.

Barbery, a professor of philosophy in France, born in Casablanca, creates a very accessible world, with a light touch, even though some of the subject matter is heavy.… |To be Continued “The Elegance of Observation”

Dreaming of Greece

Dreaming of Greece

Days of Sappho, by John William Godward. 1904
Days of Sappho, by John William Godward. 1904

Before I die, I will sleep in a temple in Greece, a temple dedicated to Aphrodite. I will wake transformed, and wander the hills and valleys once seen by Achilles, Diomedes, Perseus and Heracles. I will find the place where Odysseus came ashore after his exile. I will find the treasures of Mycenae and walk where Agamemnon walked. Athena will watch over me. I will not let a moment pass without finding the ancients in the air.

Before Nietzsche, Greece was sunlight and the shining power of rational thought. After Nietzsche, Greece was Dionysian as well as Apollonian.… |To be Continued “Dreaming of Greece”

Ah, Greece!

Ah, Greece!

The Party’s Over
Athens
four o’clock in the morning…
Early white
     bright  sunlight
     creeping over the
     Parthenon:  the city
asleep, the ancients
awake, as always,
     mentally sinewed,
     nodding knowingly
at their modern counterparts
     whose muscle only
     has softened--
hard cunning, irresistible
     charm adamantine--
taxiing home
     from Plaka

 

 

Ah, Greece!

 

As though looking for the Nativity beneath the neon lights of Christmas hawkers, we searched Greece and found sicca flourishing beneath the bare-boned ruins of our own beginnings.  If Odysseus’ shores are now thick with bikinied beautiful people, the sun that bakes their flesh is the same as the one poor Elpenor saw before his fated, foolish fall. … |To be Continued “Ah, Greece!”

The Elegance of Quick Observations

The Elegance of Quick Observations

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery

 I’m currently about 120 pages into to this marvelous novel, translated from the French by Alison Anderson. A most enjoyable reflection on the human condition, class, Art, sickness, death and how we all seek our own raison d’être. More on this wonderful book later this week . . .

Wanted to welcome Ann Applegarth to Spinozablue. We have one of her fine poems on display here, and hope to present more of her visions from the southwest in the future.

 

Poetry from New Mexico

Poetry from New Mexico


NIGHT CRAWLER



I roam this world on sidewalks littered
with images of violence.
Maintenance crews work overtime,
even on Sundays and Christmas —
stout men, crawling on padded knees,
scrub concrete with caustic detergent,
broad steel-bristled brushes, and
elbow grease.  The stains remain.
My satin slippers darken and fray.
Each dawn finds holes worn through
at least a dozen pairs — and I am
merely one frail princess, attired for
skipping  down streets of polished gold.



— by Ann Applegarth



Ann Applegarth was awarded an Academy of American Poets prize at the University of New Mexico in 1980, and her work has appeared in publications such as Sin Fronteras, St.… |To be Continued “Poetry from New Mexico”

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